International cooperation networks

Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons |  European Judicial Network |  Eurojust |  Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition of the Organization of American States |  Ibero-American Legal Assistance Network (IberRed) |  Judicial Regional Platforms of Sahel and Indian Ocean Commission Countries | Network of Specialized Prosecutors Against Organized Crime - REFCO | Network of West African Central Authorities and Prosecutors Against Organized Crime - WACAP

Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons

The purpose of the Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons is to facilitate international cooperation in criminal cases between Commonwealth member States, including on mutual legal assistance and extradition, and to provide relevant legal and practical information.

The Network comprises at least one contact person from each of the jurisdictions of the Commonwealth.

Members:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu and Zambia.

European Judicial Network

The European Judicial Network is a network of national contact points for the facilitation of judicial cooperation in criminal matters between the members States of the European Union.

National contact points are designated by each member State among central authorities in charge of international judicial cooperation, judicial authorities and other competent authorities with specific responsibilities in the field of international judicial cooperation, both in general and for certain forms of serious crime, such as organized crime, corruption, drug trafficking or terrorism. The Network is composed of more than 300 national contact points throughout the 27 member States, the European Commission and a Secretariat based in The Hague.

The contact points promote judicial cooperation between the competent local authorities for the purpose of, for example, the dispatch and implementation of requests for judicial assistance as well as the establishment of the most appropriate direct contacts. In addition, the contact points can help in resolving difficulties arising from the implementation of such requests. The contact points meet three times a year to gather knowledge on the different legal systems of European Union countries, to discuss difficulties in the provision of judicial assistance, and to make proposals for the resolution of conflicts.

The Network's Secretariat forms part of Eurojust but functions as a separate unit. It enjoys autonomy, as stated in paragraph 20 of the Council Decision 2008/426/JHA of 16 December 2008 on the strengthening of Eurojust.

Members:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Eurojust

Eurojust is a judicial cooperation body created to help provide safety within an area of freedom, security and justice. 

Eurojust was set up by the Council of the European Union in February 2002 (  Council Decision 2002/187/JHA) to improve the fight against serious crime by facilitating the optimal coordination of action for investigations and prosecutions covering the territory of more than one member State with full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

Eurojust is composed of 27 National Members, one from each European Union member State. National Members are seconded in accordance with their respective legal systems and are judges, prosecutors or police officers of equivalent competence, who together form the College of Eurojust.

In order to carry out its tasks, Eurojust maintains privileged relationships with the European Judicial Network, the European Police Office (Europol), the European Anti-Fraud Office and liaison magistrates. It is also able, through the Council, to conclude cooperation agreements with non-member States and international organizations or bodies such as UNODC for the exchange of information or the secondment of officers. At the request of a member State, Eurojust may assist investigations and prosecutions concerning that particular member State and a non-member State, if a cooperation agreement has been concluded or if there is an essential interest in providing such assistance.

In addition to cooperation agreements, Eurojust also maintains a network of contact points worldwide.

Eurojust stimulates and improves the coordination of investigations and prosecutions between the competent authorities in the member States and improves the cooperation between the competent authorities of the member States, in particular by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance and the implementation of extradition requests. Eurojust supports in any way possible the competent authorities of the member States to render their investigations and prosecutions more effective when dealing with cross-border crime.

Members:

Eurojust is composed of 27 National Members, one from each European Union Member State.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition of the Organization of American States

The Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has been under development since 2000, when the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorney Generals of the Americas decided to increase and improve the exchange of information among member States of the Organization of American States in the area of mutual assistance in criminal matters

The Network has three components: a public website, a private website and a secure electronic communication system.

The public component of the Network provides legal information related to mutual assistance and extradition for the 34 States members of the Organization of American States.

The private component of the Network contains information for individuals who are directly involved in legal cooperation in criminal matters. The private site includes information on meetings, contact points in other countries, a glossary of terms and training on the secure electronic communication system.

The purpose of the secure electronic communication system is to facilitate the exchange of information between central authorities who deal with issues of mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition. This system not only provides secure instant e-mail service to central authorities, it also provides a space for virtual meetings and the exchange of pertinent documents.

Members:

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

Ibero-American Legal Assistance Network (IberRed)

The Ibero-American Network of International Legal Cooperation ( IberRed) is a cooperation tool, in civil and criminal matters, made available for all legal agents from the 22 Ibero-American countries and the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. It has two official languages: Spanish and Portuguese.

IberRed is a Network comprised of:

a) The General Secretariat: It is a permanent Secretariat, provided by the General Secretariat of the Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-American Countries, with headquarters in Madrid.

b)  Members:

- Contact points

- Central Authorities: Liaison officers

- Any other appropriate judicial or administrative authority with responsibilities for judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters whose membership in IberRed is considered desirable by its members.

The Central Authorities are those established in instruments of International Law in which the countries belonging to the Ibero-American Community are a part of regarding judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters, where IberRed offers its support to improve coordination between them and obtain greater efficiency in their actions. These Authorities work in six different areas:

  1. Extradition.
  2. Mutual Criminal Assistance.
  3. Child abduction.
  4. Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
  5. The United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime ( UNTOC ).
  6. The United Nations Convention against Corruption ( UNCAC ).

IberRed 's features regarding the actions of its members:

a)  Informality : the activities of its members are not focused on being incorporated to the process but to advance, increase information or solve problems that, regardless of their activity, must have their formal means of enforcement. In other words, they do not replace formal cooperation, but speed it.

b)  Complementarity : the involvement of its members does not replace the activity of the competent authorities, but it complements it. In other words, it does not modify in any way the initial competence of the authorities designated in each country for the issuance and enforcement of assistance.

c)  Horizontality : the Network works without a hierarchy. There is one coordinator for each of the three institutions of each country, but their function is not hierarchical, it is to ensure coordination at an operational level of the national contact points and liaison officers. Thus seeking a more efficient international legal cooperation, without overlapping the work of other agents in the cooperation system. This coordination extends to the non-operative aspects of the activities of the contact points, and their relationship with the General Secretariat, in order to optimize the relationships between them.

d)  Flexibility : adapting their action to the characteristics of each judicial organization. Each State appoints their contact points and liaison officers to their own needs among judges, prosecutors and officials and in order to comply with the goals of IberRed within the international cooperation.

e)  Mutual trust : IberRed is based on confidence in its members, generated by the personal knowledge of its members, favoring informal contact between judges, prosecutors and other members from the different countries involved in a specific process, who can communicate on a daily basis through conventional means and the secure communication system Iber@ ( IberRed´s system).

Members:

Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.

Judicial Regional Platforms of Sahel and Indian Ocean Commission Countries

Judicial Regional Platforms have been established by UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch and Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch to strengthen international cooperation in criminal matters in the regions of the Sahel and the Indian Ocean. Their main focus is to prevent and combat forms of serious crime, such as organized crime, corruption, drug trafficking or terrorism.

The Platforms are international cooperation networks of focal points, who facilitate extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters procedures with the Member States of their Platforms. They also identify technical assistance needs for strengthening the judicial cooperation among them and sensitize the national stakeholders of the penal chain on the role and mechanisms of the Platforms. The national focal points meet, a least, once a year.

The first platform has already been instrumental in facilitating a number of procedures of extradition and mutual legal assistance.

  • Judicial Regional Platform of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) countries: Comoros, France (Réunion), Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, created jointly with the IOC and launched in the IOC headquarters in Quatre-Bornes, on 10-11 June 2009. A second meeting of the focal points took place in Saint Denis, Réunion, France, on 29-30 October 2009. The IOC Platform had its 3rd meeting on 7-8 June 2011 in Port-Louis, Mauritius.

Chart:   Charte de fonctionnement de la plateform régional Justice des pays de la COI

List of focal points:   Liste des Points Focaux de la Platforme Régionale Justice de la Commission de l´Océan Indien

Tools:  - Compendium of bilateral, regional and international agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance

Recueil d'accords bilatéraux régionaux et internationaux en matiére d´entraide judiciare et d´extradition

- Practical guide for formulating effective requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance to the five States members of IOC

Fiches pratiques pour faire une requte efficace d´extradition et d´ entraide judicaire aux Etats de la commission de l´ Ocean Indien

  • Judicial Regional Platform of Sahel countries, currently: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, launched in Bamako, from 22 to 24 June 2010.

Chart:   Charte de la Plateforme Judiciaire Régionale des quatre pays du Sahel suivante: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritanie et Niger

List of focal pointsPlateforme Judiciaire régionale des pays du Sahel: Liste des points focaux et suppleants

Tools: - Practical guide for formulating effective requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance to the Sahel countries

Fiches pratiques pour formuler une requête efficace d'extradition et d'entraide judiciaire aux États membres de la Plateforme judiciaire régionale des pays du Sahel suivants: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger

 

Network of Specialized Prosecutors Against Organized Crime - REFCO 

The Network of Prosecutors against Organized Crime (REFCO) is an initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, funded by the Government of Canada, which began in 2009 and was launched with its first meeting in March 2011. Members of the network include 10 prosecution offices from Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. 

The aim of the network is to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of serious and organized crime and facilitate regional and international cooperation. [ more]

 

Network of West African Central Authorities and Prosecutors Against Organized Crime - WACAP

The Network of West African Central Authorities and Prosecutors against Organized Crime (WACAP) is an initiative of the UNODC Global Programme for Strength- ening Capacities to Prevent and Combat Organized Crime, taking place in the framework of the strategy for the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). It builds on the success of the REFCO Network developed by UNODC in Central America. WACAP is linked to the Bamako Declaration on Impunity, Justice, and Human Rights in West Africa, which has as an activity the promotion of mutual legal assistance networks in different countries. 

The purpose of WACAP is to strengthen the capacity of central authorities and prosecutors to combat all forms of organized crime and impunity. In the first phase, the Network will assist West African central authorities in developing contacts with their counterparts in countries with which they are cooperat- ing, or may be called upon to cooperate in the future. Through regular meetings and training programmes, the Network will enable central authorities and relevant practitioners to exchange information about their respective legal systems and procedures, to develop a common language, and to share good practices. This will allow them to better prepare and respond to requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition. In the second phase, the Network intends to develop and strengthen the capacity of prosecutors specialized in organized crime to lead successful prosecutions and to cooperate at the regional and international levels. [ more]